3 Austin Resources for Strengthening Your Nonprofit Organization

When you think of people who chose to work for nonprofit organizations, what comes to mind? You probably picture someone with a big heart.

big heart

But a big heart is not the only requirement to for helping others. If you fill your brain with tips and specialized nonprofit knowledge, you can help even more people. There are a number of organizations in Austin that provide excellent assistance to community sector professionals. But there are three that I “geek out” at when I visit them or take a class from them – and I think you will too.

Center for Nonprofit Studies at Austin Community College (CNS @ ACC)

Check out CNS @ ACC’s web site for their list of services. But as a nonprofit geek, I’d like to focus here on their learning opportunities. I have enjoyed offerings such as grant writing, social media, and team-building. One thing I like is that they have classes of various lengths and price-ranges. I have seen free brown bag lunchtime offerings and I have seen multi-week classes culminating in a certificate. There is something for every nonprofit professional at CNS @ ACC.

The Regional Foundation Library (RFL) at the University of Texas at Austin

Do you ever wonder what the secret to obtaining grant funding is? Stopping by the RFL is the first step toward finding out. For more than 50 years, the RFL has served as a bridge between the grant-seeking and the grant-making communities. The staff at the RFL can answer your questions about ways to approach grant giving organizations. But this geek’s favorite tool at the RFL is the Foundation Directory Online Database. You can use it to search for the foundations that are most likely to give you grants. The RFL staff can coach you on the best way to use the Foundation Directory Online and their other free tools.

Greenlights

Greenlights’ mission is to strengthen nonprofits for extraordinary performance and impact. This 501(c)3 organization provides management consulting services, professional development, customized training, in-depth research and more. Visit their site for examples of what you can learn; but one example of a recent Greenlights research report is On the Verge: Value and Vulnerability of Austin’s Nonprofit Sector. This study reports the surprising facts that: Austin is home to nearly 6,000 nonprofits – but 72% have less than $100K in income – and less than 15% have ANY paid staff.

If you start building your knowledge of how to help a nonprofit organization succeed, then visit any or all of these resources – and tell them the Greater Good Geek sent you.

brain

Fill your brain with information about nonprofit organizations Resources:

Center for Nonprofit Studies at Austin Community College (formerly known as Center for Community Based and Nonprofit Organizations – CCBNO): 5930 Middle Fiskville Rd, #414, Austin, TX 78752, (512) 223-7051; http://sites.austincc.edu/npo/

The Regional Foundation Library: At UT’s Community Engagement Center, 1009 East 11th St., Austin, TX. A call is recommended before visiting: (512) 475-7373′ http://ddce.utexas.edu/foundationlibrary/

Greenlights (formerly known as Greenlights for Nonprofit Success): 8303 N MoPac Expy Suite A201, Austin, Texas 78759, (512) 477-5955; http://www.greenlights.org/

Questions:

Have you used any of these resources? If so, what did you think? Are there other resources that you have found helpful?

Image Credits: S. Erler (first image); Internet Archive Book Images (second image).

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Independence – what this word can teach you about nonprofit organizations

Independence. This weekend, as the U.S. celebrates our independence, is a great time to examine this word. It can mean different things to different groups of people. Many senior citizens, for example, value the independence that living at home brings. There is a high loss of independence if health and mobility require someone to move away from home to an assisted living facility.

Focus on Nonprofit Organizations: Capital City Village

The Greater Good Geek blog will occasionally feature a nonprofit organization and “geek out” with a food for thought “case study.” Today’s edition focuses on an organization called Capital City Village. Capital City Village is an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping seniors stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible (a concept called aging in place and community). In other words, the organization supports the independence of senior citizens.

What Nonprofit Leaders Can Learn

This Independence-based nonprofit organization teaches us is how important it is for nonprofit leaders to be in tune with changing demographics. There will be cases when new nonprofit options need to be created to address population trends – and this is one of them.

The Growing Needs of Baby Boomers

The Baby Boom is one of those population trends that cannot be ignored by the community sector. The influence of Baby Boomers stems in part by the size of the group: there are currently 78 million boomers in the U.S. and 8,000 boomers are turning 65 every day (Source: How Baby Boomers Are Changing Retirement Living, Washingtonian, March 13, 2014).

Portrait

Seniors Value Their Independence

The “traditional” retirement options (assisted living, retirement communities) are not fitting the needs of today’s senior citizens. Many want to age at home, retaining independence and saving money. This is where nonprofit leaders saw a trend and Capital City Village (CCV) was created. Founded in 2010, CCV gives seniors access to volunteers, service providers and social and educational programs – helping them age in place.

This Geek’s Case Study

So the Geek’s “case study” lessons for nonprofit leaders are: keep your finger on the pulse of demographic trends, notice needs in your community, shift the focus of your organization (or start a new organization) to address a need that has not been addressed yet.

Population Trends

Questions:

What are some of the recent trends in your community? Do you see a population growth that needs services? Is there a recent community need that a nonprofit organization could better address? Do you have ideas about how those needs could be addressed? Do you have experience with a nonprofit organization that started a new program for the purpose of addressing a new population trend? If so, please share details.

Image credits: Flip Schulke, The U.S. National Archives (first image). Thomas Abercrombie, Internet Archive Book Images (second image).